The International Commission on Glass, ICG, is a non-profit international association comprising 37 national organizations, based on the science and technology of glass. Much of the value of the ICG stems from its various technical committees that help to investigate new techniques, conduct studies and draft thematic guides that allow the sector to advance and improve glass manufacturing. There are currently over 20 specialized committees that cover a wide range of subjects. Vidrala is currently active in two of these, both of which are of prime importance. These are the Energy Efficiency Committee and the Refractory Materials Committee. Among other tasks, the Refractory Materials Committee is currently drafting a Guide, which will include tests and practical case studies on product quality management according to the needs of the glass produced, and the behaviour or corrosion of the materials used. The Energy Efficiency Committee identifies those stages that can potentially prove most beneficial in terms of efficiency improvements. Work is also carried out on the selections of impact technologies, in the setting in motion of pilot projects to develop these technologies, the generation of R&D and the organization of technical conferences on the subject of energy efficiency. Taking part in these committees enables Vidrala to be at the forefront of expertise on the world of glass and its manufacture, as well as knowing which are the most useful technologies for...
The International Commission on Glass, ICG, is a non-profit international association comprising 37 national organizations, based on the science and technology of glass. Much of the value of the ICG stems from its various technical committees that help to investigate new techniques, conduct studies and draft thematic guides that allow the sector to advance and improve glass manufacturing. There are currently over 20 specialized committees that cover a wide range of subjects. Vidrala is currently active in two of these, both of which are of prime importance. These are the Energy Efficiency Committee and the Refractory Materials Committee. Among other tasks, the Refractory Materials Committee is currently drafting a Guide, which will include tests and practical case studies on product quality management according to the needs of the glass produced, and the behaviour or corrosion of the materials used. The Energy Efficiency Committee identifies those stages that can potentially prove most beneficial in terms of efficiency improvements. Work is also carried out on the selections of impact technologies, in the setting in motion of pilot projects to develop these technologies, the generation of R&D and the organization of technical conferences on the subject of energy efficiency. Taking part in these committees enables Vidrala to be at the forefront of expertise on the world of glass and its manufacture, as well as knowing which are the most useful technologies for the development of the organization. It also gives us the opportunity to share experiences, success stories and tools for improvement that result in a collective benefit for the sector as a whole; from which manufacturing firms and all of the interest groups related with them ultimately benefit.
Phased combustion in Vidrala Italy
In a sector like glass container manufacturing that is so energy intensive, reducing fuel and electricity consumption, mainly associated with the melting process, as well as with other ancillary processes (heat treatment, etc.) is fundamental for optimal operation, from an environmental and economic point of view. Thanks to these reductions, the associated greenhouse gas emissions can also be controlled. In this case, Vidrala’s plant in Italy was selected to conduct tests at the industrial level of a new phased combustion technique, which aims to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions (NOx) to a greater extent. The aim is, then, to be able to control NOx emissions in accordance with the regulations that apply to glass manufacturing.
Use of resources
Most industrial processes require the use of water. Conscious of its scarcity, importance, and cost, with the aim of developing an optimal consumption industrial process and bearing in mind the complex management that water requires, Vidrala endeavours to optimize water use in its facilities. To do this, Vidrala’s plants have re-use and re-circulation systems in place that increase the options available for water use as much as possible. As a result, more than half of the water consumed is re-used. For example, our plant in Belgium, MD Verre, reduced in 2014 its water consumption by 24% compared to last year Despite this, due to the increase in production of some plants, the average ratio of Vidrala Group total consumption was higher than in the preceding period. Nevertheless, it remains within the optimum range of use. Vidrala is working to optimize these ratios, so that the glass packaging industry will be increasingly sensitive to the environment. In all of the plants, water use protocols are complied with and regulated strictly, and the sources of water capture (whether these are wells, nearby water courses or the water supply network itself) are not affected.
Energy management is one of the most important aspects for Vidrala and is a key element in glass manufacturing. Throughout the entire process, there are many diverse elements on which we are working to improve energy efficiency: controlling combustion, furnace conditions or the fusion process, for instance. Energy efficiency can thus be said to be the cornerstone of Vidrala’s operational priorities, which involves optimizing the costs of glass production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is not a simple matter to maintain the results of previous years, taking into account that the energy aspects associated with the industrial sector have undergone significant changes due to circumstances beyond the control of Vidrala Group and its daily operations. This fact jeopardizes the competitiveness of the glass container market itself in the current context. Despite these circumstances, in recent years, Grupo Vidrala has made large investment projects a priority to make our furnaces as efficient and in particular, as energy efficient as possible, according to each case.
ISO 50001 certification
An illustration of the importance that Vidrala places on the management of efficiency and energy sustainability-related aspects of its activities is the priority of external certification that guarantees that our internal systems are disciplined and evaluated by independent third party assessors. Thus, Vidrala has initiated the certification process according to ISO 50001 standard for Energy Management. The first of the Group’s facilities to obtain this certificate was Crisnova Vidrio plant in Albacete.
Energy management in Crisnova Vidrio
ISO Standard 50001 is a global standard for energy management, which is based on the following aspects: establishing an energy policy with concrete objectives, determining a baseline for energy use, identifying critical areas and having a periodic forecast of energy use, which enables the operation to plan investments and improvements. Crisnova Vidrio plant has successfully completed its first year of certification to the ISO 50001 standard. Following this period, it can be said that the reduction in energy consumptions, both in absolute and relative terms, is effective, related to aspects of melting and other complementary stages of the manufacturing process.
In the glass container manufacturing sector, potentially contaminating emissions are originated from a number of different stages of the process. Firstly, there is the extraction of the raw materials followed by their use; their melting in the furnace, which produces emissions from the materials themselves as well as those associated with the combustion process and the indirect emissions that stem from the use of electricity. All of Vidrala’s plants are subject to the European Directive on emissions of CO2. Vidrala has been working for years on reducing this type of emission. The main focus of effort is on reducing the needs of fuels for the melting furnaces, as they are the main source of direct emissions into the atmosphere, in the form of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, sulphur oxides and particles. In addition, we also try to optimize the consumption of electricity as much as possible to increase efficiency and to reduce indirect emissions. Finally, another key factor is the use of recycled glass from selective recovery, always provided that this is available and that the requirements of the manufacturing process allow to use it.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGEs)
As a result of all of these efforts, Vidrala has succeeded in keeping the Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGEs) figure at the same level as in recent years, which shows how the effort to improve energy and environmental efficiency has delivered tangible results.
Emissions: particles, NOx and SOx NOx are contaminants produced during the processes of combustion, which comes from the fuels used (mostly natural gas) and from the process itself. On a permanent basis, Vidrala’s plants monitor and adjust the various parameters according to requirements in order to comply with the relevant environmental codes and regulations for each facility. During last year, we were able to reduce the production of nitrogen oxides and particles, with levels among the lowest of recent years.
Among the many measures implemented by Vidrala to control atmospheric emissions are the electrostatic precipitation systems with prior de-sulphuring (to reduce the production of SOx in stack discharges) as well as additional measures: furnace design and control, the use of burners with lower rates of NOx emission and the replacement of some of the fossil fuels with electricity. An example of this large investment made during 2014 was the complete refurbishment of one of the furnaces and production lines at Crisnova Vidrio plant, an installation that has allowed both improved production levels and reduced nitrogen oxide emissions. This new furnace has become a benchmark for Vidrala Group and indeed for the whole glass packaging industry in terms of reducing gas contaminants.
Thanks to the modifications introduced in the new furnace design; parameters such as the supply of raw materials, the use of burners, the sensors installed and the balance between fossil fuels and electricity, can be managed in a faster, more modern and more efficient way.
ISO 14064 certification
Obtaining certification based on internationally recognized management systems is not just a way of managing the organization but also the way in which Vidrala Group backs up its commitment to sustainability. Meanwhile, our commitment to certifications makes it possible for the value chain to be increasingly responsible and disciplined, with a voluntary binding commitment to regular evaluation by third-party assessors. In terms of emissions, ISO 14064 is one of the most widely-used international standards, based on which Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGEs) reports are voluntarily verified. As Vidrala Group has progressed in its commitment to the management, reporting and verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGEs), it has become necessary to establish a framework in order to implement these tracking processes and report our emissions in an independent and objective manner. To do this, we have placed our trust in ISO standard 14064. Thanks to this certification, Vidrala Group has a benchmark on which to develop tools and programs that enable us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the internal organization of gas trading plans.
Vidrala is keenly aware of the importance of advancing confidently in the struggle against climate change, which is why it has expressed its willingness to follow the roadmap set out by the initiative Stop CO2 Euskadi in which we are participating through our activities of design, R&D, and in the management and merchandising of glass containers. To summarize, certification is one more step along the way to realize the dual aims of transparency and credibility in our reporting.
14064 certification in Aiala Vidrio
In 2014, Aiala Vidrio production plant in Llodio (Álava) and Vidrala headquarters have issued the “Declaration of compliance with the greenhouse gas inventory”, following the guidelines of international standard UNE ISO 14064-1 2006. On this occasion, Aiala Vidrio has included the production plant itself as part of the GGE inventory, as well as the management of the product delivery to the customer, the transportation of raw materials used, the daily commute of staff and the business trips by air and train.
When making inventory of emissions sources, the fuel used in the melting process (natural gas) was factored in, as well as emissions caused by the decarbonisation of raw materials, electricity consumption and that of the fuel used by forklifts, the delivery of glass containers to customers, raw materials transportation, leased vehicles, staff commuting, business trips and emissions due to leaks of coolant. Achieving this certification is one of the goals set out in Vidrala Group Plan, a broader one, with the aim of continuing to be active agents for change, of remaining committed to development in sustainability, improving the productivity and efficiency of glass container manufacturing processes.
MD Verre gets OHSAS 18001:2007 certification for management system
During 2014, one of the most significant developments in terms of Occupational Health and Safety in Vidrala Group was the certification to the standard OHSAS 18001:2007 of the management system implemented in MD Verre plant in Belgium. The plant was already being run according to Vidrala Group’s own guidelines and procedures for some time prior to this. Among these guidelines and procedures were those derived from a system that is certifiable according to an international standard. Finally, in 2014, following an evaluation of the original situation and the work that had been carried out, it was decided to move towards certification by an independent body. Before achieving this certification, it was necessary to:
• Integrate Prevention, by implementing the procedures that make up the Management System.
• Update the Risk Assessment in accordance with the criteria usedby Vidrala Group.
• Update the Crisis Management Plan.
• Improve the working conditions, (for example repairing the barriers in the hot zone and the protective fittings to inspection machines and cold zone lines).
Pilot project for food defence in Gallo Vidro
While Food Safety in our production environment is mainly geared towards the manufacturing of safe glass containers (guarantees that there is no food risk for the health of the end user) against the natural or accidental contamination of the product, the aim of Food Defence is to supply products that are safe against intentional contamination of the product, either by internal personnel or by persons unrelated to the organization. For this reason we are going to draw up an Integrated Food Defense Plan in the plant, in which malicious contamination threats of any kind (physical, chemical and or microbiological) are eliminated or, if not feasible, minimized, at all stages of the production process and all activities related thereto. This is the background against which Gallo Vidro, our plant in Portugal, as a pilot plant, began to take the first steps to implement its Food Defense Plan in the last quarter of 2014. Following the initial presentation of the project by the Food Quality and Safety Management of the Group, and with the support of the plant’s food safety team, the first steps have been taken in phase 1 of the project, which will continue its development throughout 2015.
Environmental education project in Castellar Vidrio
Vidrala Group believes that education plays a fundamental part in the understanding, prevention and resolution of environmental problems. The sooner this education takes place, the more deeply the habits and customs among the future adult population will remain. In line with this approach, at Castellar Vidrio plant an environmental education project has been carried on for several years, a pioneering project in Vidrala Group, both in terms of the target audience (pupils of schools and colleges) and the format, in collaboration with the schools themselves and with Castellar del Valles Town Council and the organizations Ecovidrio and Friends of Glass. Tours of the plant are organized for the local school population (at first we worked with primary school pupils and this has now been extended to secondary school and technical college students) who visit the plant and work on topics such as energy use and the use and recycling of glass. Vidrala Group rates this project as one that has been and continues to be successful. In 2014, we welcomed visitors from six different education centres, with a total of over 120 students.
Responsibility to people – company workforce
For Vidrala, a series of commitments to the people who are an integral part of our enterprise are key.
Life and health are the most precious commodities we possess, especially those of the workforce at Vidrala Group. This is why safety, which includes the prevention of occupational risks, ranks among the highest level of Vidrala’s strategic priorities. This focusing of priorities has enabled all of Vidrala’s plants to achieve OHSAS certification 18001:2007 in Health and Safety Management in the Workplace during the year 2014. The plant which most recently obtained this accreditation was MD Verre in Belgium. The trend of the main indicators of accident rates has been very positive, and is clear evidence of the efforts made by all in terms of occupational health and safety. Since 2009, the Accident Frequency Rate* has fallen by more than 70%, and the Serious Injury Rate** has been cut in almost half.
During this year there has also been continued commitment to the evaluation of the work carried out. Thus, there have been 223 safety inspections, and the three plants in Spain have been officially audited in terms of risk prevention, with successful outcomes in every case.
* Accident frequency rate: number of accidents x 1.000.00/ number of hours worked
** Serious injury rate: number of working days lost x 1.000.00/ number of hours worked
Training and awareness-raising
Once again this year Vidrala Group has maintained its commitment to training and professional development, with an average of 21.28 hours of training per worker in the year 2014. This real commitment to training is only possible if the training is of the highest quality. This is shown by the average rating given to the training events conducted, which was around 3.2 points out of a possible 4. This rating is encouraging and inspires us on to continued improvement in our quest for excellence.
In 2014, Vidrala Group focused its efforts on the quest for continuous improvement and professional development managed in an individualized way. For instance, the following projects were carried out:
• Extension of the Professional Development Assessment to the whole collective of Directors, Managers and personnel in supporting roles.
• Development of greater content in the “Vidrala Campus” through which on-line training events are conducted on an individualized basis. In 2014 specific training events were added that focused on Occupational Risk Prevention and the Environment. The goal and the challenge in 2014 was to guide training towards the improvement and establishment of existing projects.
Close company-workforce collaboration
For the third year in a row, Vidrala’s social responsibility programme was focused on the struggle against cancer. The project has been managed in a global manner across all of our plants, but the proceeds have been channelled to the cancer associations in each area where the plant is located. A point worth highlighting is that during 2014 MD Verre plant in Belgium joined the programme. This year we have achieved an increase of almost 8% in the workforce’s contribution, which together with Vidrala Group’s contribution, amounted to over 25,000 euros donated to the cause.
Customers and products
Vidrala Group commitment to its customers is to provide them with glass containers that meet the agreed requirements of usefulness and quality. Vidrala Group joins its customers in the quest for solutions to their needs, from two perspectives:
• We work closely with our customers on a routine basis, developing customized products.
• We forecast future trends in the best selling glass container categories.
This commitment and dedication to the customer is reflected in the surveys conducted every year by Vidrala. More than 80% of the customers surveyed recommend Vidrala as a leading supplier. These are the best results in the 9 years in which we have been conducting this survey. The survey, as in previous years, was incentivized with a donation by Vidrala to the NGO Aldeas Infantiles in Spain for each customer satisfaction survey completed and received.
2014 was an outstanding year for Vidrala’s design team, for the number of new developments carried out. This is an unstoppable market trend. The product life cycle is becoming ever shorter and glass containers are no exception to this phenomenon. Our clients want their customers to have a better perception of the product, they want a container that does not alter the product and that in addition offers the firmest guarantee of hygiene and health; one of the most effective ways of doing this is by improving the packaging. This is why the product ranges of bottles and jars are being renewed more and more often. All of this is down to the fact that glass is the material that brings the most original and authentic design to a product. It is a material that adds quality, style and the best possible conservation.
During 2014, over 100 new models were launched, 30% more than the new models developed in 2013. In terms of categories or segments, most of these are models created for the wine sector (41%) followed by spirits (16%) and olive oils (16%). In 2014 the following were the major new launches:
• The Quartz range, aimed at the olive oil sector.
• Restyling for Smirnoff vodka.
• The 33 cl Carolina model produced for PepsiCo aimed at the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering segments (‘Horeca”).
Vidrala continues to be committed to innovation and dedicates significant resources to R&D. With the aim of adding quality to our customers’ products while ensuring that the process is more stable and controlled, we have developed technologies such as “Visense” (patent pending). This device is able to measure the capacity of bottles while hot, ensuring less variance in the process and enabling a better adjustment of the filling process, thereby reducing shortfalls. A common denominator of all investments in R&D is the need to guarantee the sustainability of the activity in many respects, which is why many of the projects conducted in 2014 have been developed with a view to improving energy efficiency, better control of the process, reduced production inefficiencies and development of innovative products, increasingly consistent with the needs of society today.
Commitments to specific sectors
2014 was another year of intense work with the sectors with which Vidrala shares interests:
• Cava: we took part in the third solidarity dinner with the Cava Fraternity, the proceeds of which were donated to Caritas.
• Wine: Grupo Vidrala attended the trade fair Vinitech in Bordeaux with our own stand.
• Oil: in 2014, we also took part in the campaign “Adopt an Olive Tree”. This is a project that brings together youth, entrepreneurship, the countryside and sustainability. Vidrala Group, sharing the values of the project, participated by supplying the glass containers that are filled with the olive oil harvested from the olive trees that have been adopted. Also related to the wine sector, Vidrala has participated in the first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Study of the wine cluster, carried out by experts from the Francisco de Vitoria University (Madrid), and commissioned by “Wine Markets and Distribution” (MDV). Over a thousand surveys were conducted with wineries, distribution companies and the wider industry.
The CSR report follows a management model based on three-fold accounting of results: economic, social and environmental. The final measure is comprehensive due to the social importance of this activity, both inside and outside the company, and according to the corresponding activity with the environment.
Vidrala is among the top 20 in the ranking with a score of 85.99, an optimal score according to MDV (“Mercados del Vino y la Distribución” - Wine Markets and Distribution). In terms of initiatives launched by the sector, Vidrala Groupcontinues to play an active part in ANFEVI – the National Association of Glass Manufacturers, and FEVE –The European Glass Container Federation driving activities and projects to raise awareness of the virtues of glass as a packaging material for food and beverages.
This year FEVE presented a report at a European level on food safety in which the views of 8,000 members of the general public were collected, of ages ranging from 25 to 64 from 11 European countries. Present at the presentation was Miquel Porta, a prestigious Spanish scientist and expert in toxicology and Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. FEVE has also launched the new communications campaign “Look beyond the label”. ANFEVI has conducted events related to food safety and glass, such as its Twitter-based campaign #YoElijoVidrio - I Choose Glass.
Carbon Footprint and Environmental Footprint Europe’s consumers are entitled to know what are the repercussions on the environment throughout the product life-cycle of all products that they intend to buy, and demand information so that they can easily identify the option that is really sustainable. For this reason, it is essential to have reliable and accurate measurements and information on the environmental behaviour of products and organizations. In this frame of reference, it is essential that business organizations measure the environmental behaviour of the products they manufacture throughout their life-cycle, and offer information on the environmental behaviour to any interested party in the private sector, public sector or society as a whole.
Vidrala believes that the objective and consistent calculation of the Environmental Footprint is a vital element for the development of sustainable products and processes of improvement. In line with this, we are working with some of our customers to identify in detail the Carbon and Environmental Footprints of their products. In addition, Vidrala has maintained its commitment in 2014 to reducing the footprint of glass containers manufactured in its plants and of the products stored in glass containers by its customers, by keeping its “Natura” product line in its product catalogue. This line, designed to reduce the consumption of raw materials and energy, leaves a smaller Environmental and Carbon Footprint than all of the other products in the catalogue.
The strategy adopted and set in motion by Vidrala in this regard is entirely consistent with that set out in the Recommendation of the European Commission, of 9 April 2013, on the use of common methods to measure and report on the environmental behaviour of products and organizations throughout the lifecycle. During 2014, one of the pilot projects was started which are led by the Commission to develop the Product Environmental Footprint for wine, in which FEVE - The European Glass Container Federation - is participating.
In 2014, Vidrala Group remained true to its commitment to Food Quality and Safety, which has meant another year of successful certifications in both areas:
• UNE-EN-ISO 9001:2008 for Quality;
• UNE-EN-ISO 22000:2005 at the Group level
• Global Standard BRC for Packaging & Packaging
Materials Grade A The effort made in sustainability and climate change is acknowledged by customers, of whom over 70% say that Vidrala Group is strongly committed to sustainability.
According to The European Packaging Study, Spanish consumers confirm the qualities of our products and see glass as a safe material for food and beverage containers, that it is good for health and environmentally friendly. Vidrala’s commitment extends beyond its direct customers and guarantees the safety of its glass containers for the health of end customers. Hence, in an economic and market context in which continuous improvement is an indisputable factor, and in view of the constantly higher demands and expectations of our customers, Vidrala Group has taken its first steps to Food Defense, as evidenced in its involvement in Food Safety.
Commitment to the local community
An organization like Vidrala makes no sense without its social dimension, without the people who make it up and give it its personality, as well as the environment that hosts them. For this reason, Vidrala remained committed in 2014 to the development of the environments nearby its facilities, participating in social and cultural activities organized by entities of many different kinds. In line with our social responsibility policy, the firm has worked with almost 30 organisations, among which are sports clubs, NGOs with a social purpose, cultural associations and residents associations. In total, the funds allocated to organizations of this kind amount to over EUR 23,000.
Communication and awareness raising
A key element to be able to continue fulfilling the commitment to manufacturing environmentally-friendly containers is to promote recycling in society in general. For this reason, Vidrala remains committed to environmental education, as the basis of a society with a greater awareness of its responsibility to the environment. One outcome of this commitment has been the development over a number of years of a joint project between Castellar Vidrio plant, the Town Council of Castellar del Valles, Friends of Glass and the Ecovidrio association.